When you see a score like 7-4, it’s difficult to imagine that a controversial call really could have made a difference. Whether it would have made a difference or not, it looks like the referees missed a high-sticking penalty in the third period. As you can see from this video capture, Duncan Keith caught Danny Briere with a high stick.
Briere started bleeding almost immediately, which means that the infraction could have been a double-minor penalty. If my memory serves me correctly, the score was 5-3 Chicago at the time of that missed penalty. I always preach against the practice of “replacement” (in other words, saying, “if this person wasn’t injured, the team would have won” because there’s a domino effect with those kind of things. Let’s just move on.) so it’s unsafe to assume that the Flyers could have mounted a comeback.
Still, you never know with hockey and momentum. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, for one, thought it was a blunder.
“I thought it was a penalty. At first glance, I almost thought it was intentional. The puck wasn’t even around,” Laviolette said. “Looking at it again, it should have been a four-minute penalty. You have to be in control of your stick out there. Dangerously close to a severe eye injury.”
“They told me that it was a follow-through on the puck. I’m not sure I understood the call. I thought it should have been a four-minute penalty.”
On the other hand, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville pointed out that the Flyers probably got away with a high stick on Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell.
“I think Soupy might have had the same high stick and he was cut too. Apples and oranges,” Quenneville said. “At the end of the day, it probably came out in the wash.”
Some might say it was a makeup non-call, but either way it did look like a mistake. What do you think? Should it have been a penalty, a double-minor or nothing at all? Let us know in the comments.
Busy Blackhawks bring back Pokka, reportedly let Rasmussen walk
Rasmussen played in 68 games last season (along with three playoff contests), receiving almost 12 minutes of ice time per night. Both were examples of him seeing more of a role in his second year with Chicago.
Still, he didn’t put up big numbers at either the AHL or NHL level, so apparently the Blackhawks decided to spring him free. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports that the team might have soured on Rasmussen after he rejected an offer for a contract extension back in March.
Powers also notes that Ville Pokka was signed to a one-year deal, opening the door for him to possibly make Chicago’s roster.
These developments aren’t likely to add to what’s already been a frustrating off-season for Joel Quenneville in particular, but this still lines up with a pattern of changes. In the latest edition of “30 Thoughts,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman shares some details of Coach Q’s irritation:
21. Joel Quenneville was at the draft Saturday after not appearing on Friday. He stormed out of a coach’s meeting — in full view of reporters — as news broke of the Chicago trades. It would have been very tough for him to lose Hjalmarsson, one of the NHL’s underappreciated great players.
This is a time of change for this organization, and some are bristling at the way they’re handling things. Still, there’s also an argument that the team is ultimately making wise choices, and Nelson could end up being a big part of that.
Assuming they convince him to come on board, of course.
After spending the last two seasons with the Oilers, Eric Gryba has signed on for two more.
Gryba, the veteran blueliner that was set to go unrestricted on Saturday, has signed a two-year, $1.8 million extension with Edmonton, per TSN. The deal comes after the 29-year-old appeared in 40 games for the Oilers last year, and three during the club’s playoff run.
It’s likely Gryba will continue to play his existing role in Edmonton — a physical, hard-nosed depth defenseman that won’t play every night, but can jump into the lineup in case of injury or when the Oilers face a particular matchup.
On top of Thornton’s abilities are his relationships with key figures in Los Angeles’ front office. He played with Kings General Manager Rob Blake in San Jose, while Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Development Mike O’Connell was Thornton’s general manager when he played in Boston.
On top of these relationships, Thornton also remains very close with Glen Murray, a figure in Los Angeles’ player development, and I’m told the two, who played together with the Bruins for three and a half seasons, regularly communicate.
LeBrun reported that staying with the Sharks remains Thornton’s No. 1 option, but it’s pretty clear interest in him is sky-high — and coming from a number of different places.
What happens with Marian Gaborik‘s $4.875M cap hit remains to be seen. The veteran winger underwent an offseason procedure for a “chronic” knee issue and, depending on his recovery, could open the year on long-term injured reserve.
Thornton would give L.A. a formidable one-two punch at center along with Anze Kopitar (and a truly formidable 1-2-3 punch with Kopitar and Jeff Carter, for that matter). It’s also worth noting that as he’s gotten longer in the tooth, Thornton has successfully platooned as a winger — most notably during San Jose’s Stanley Cup run in 2016.
I've always more or less expected Thornton to re-sign in SJ. But I've also heard from a source that LA considers Joe to be a "priority."